MANILA, Philippines—The Senate on Monday (September 27) approved on third and final reading a bill extending voter registration by 30 days.
Senate Bill No. 2408, an Act Extending the Registration of Voters for the 2022 National and Local Elections, was unanimously approved by all senators and agreed that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) needed to be compelled to move the deadline after its continued rejection of the proposal.
Senator Miguel Zubiri, main sponsor of the bill, said there is no need for a bicameral meeting as the Senate will adopt the House of Representatives’ version of the bill. He added that the final version will be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for his signature.
“Hopefully the President will sign this request,” Zubiri said.
The extension of voter registration, according to Zubiri, would prevent the disenfranchisement of about 12 million eligible voters.
In the bill’s explanatory note, the senators stressed that almost six months of the registration period was lost when strict lockdowns were imposed during the pandemic. More days were lost too when areas were reverted back to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)or modified ECQ.
Comelec set the voter registration deadline to September 30, which was before the pandemic, the senators said.
“In this connection, Comelec could not have anticipated the adverse impact of the pandemic on voter registration and must make the necessary adjustments to allow more unregistered potential voters to register. In fact, voter registration was suspended several times due to the adverse effect of Covid-19,” the senators added. AAC